Posts filed under “Data Analysis”

Commerce Retail Sales Data: Beware Gas Inflation

Yesterday, we looked at the abysmal Same Store Sales data (Retail Sales = Hard Landing ?)

Today, we will get the Commerce Department’s release of retail sales for April at 8:30am. It will look much better than the Retailers data.


Commerce includes the gasoline sales, where prices have spiked to their highest levels since the disruption caused by Katrina. The Commerce Department is measuring not just sales increases, but price inflation also. 

Consensus is for a 0.4% rise; Compare that with the ICSC same-store sales decline of 2.3% — the largest decline dating back to November 1970. The WSJ noted "Outright declines in overall monthly same-store sales figures in the
U.S. have occurred only twice in more than three decades of
record-keeping, and last month’s was by far the sharpest of those."

Thomson Financial tallied 85% of retailers missed expectations.

The ICSC chief
, Michael Niemira, stated: "It’s an ugly picture. The 2.3% decline is a wake-up call that something
fundamental is going on."

Back out gasoline price increases — but not sales increases — and you may very well end up with a different number . . .

The WSJ survey of economists, however, think the worst is over.

"Meanwhile, economists surveyed by said they expect continued weakness in consumer spending but the worst of the economic slowdown has passed. By a ratio of more than 5-to-1, they said the first quarter’s 1.3% growth rate, the weakest in four years, marked the low point in the slowdown, which began last year. However, they expect growth to stay below 3% into early 2008, leaving 2007 on track to have the slowest economic growth since 2003."

Of course, this group has missed noticing nearly every recession over the recent decades until they were nearly over, so take their cheerfulness with a grain of salt . . . 


click for larger graphic




Gas Prices to Boost Retail Sales for April
WSJ, May 11, 2007; Page A2

Economy Is Clawing Back, but Not Much
Economists See Signs of a Rebound in Growth, But 2007 Is Still on Track as Weakest in Years
WSJ, May 10, 2007

Retail-Sales Slide Fuels Concern
WSJ, May 11, 2007; Page A3

April sales weak; most retailers miss
Jennifer Waters
MarketWatch, 3:59 PM ET May 10, 2007

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Economy, Energy, Retail

More on NFP: More Recognition of Disbelief

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Psychology

NFP: 88k (and I don’t believe even that)

The Payroll numbers are out, and they are not particularly pretty:

88,000 new jobs were created in April, according to BLS. This is the weakest job gain since November ’04. Cumulative revisions for prior months were to the downside by 26,000.

As expected, losses were in Manufacturing (19k), Retail (26k) and Construction (11k). The  weakness in Construction has been very uted, implying that the full impact of the housing slow down has yet to be fully realized.

Biggest gains were had in Services (116k), Education and Health (53k), Gov’t (25k) Professional (24k) and Leisure/Hospitality (22k).    

Temporary help jobs fell for a 3rd month (January was flat) making 4 consecutive months of no gains. Temp help tends to lead employment gains, and this weakness can be read as a future forecastor of employment.

We don’t pay close attention to the Household survey, (the self reported number is very volatile) but the drop of -468k was an eyebrow raiser.


Birth Death Adjustment:  A whopping 317k B/D adjustment — that is the single largest "adjustment" on record for any single given month. And despite that giant add, the number was a very soft 88k.

To put this into some context, of those 317k new jobs hypothesized by BLS, 49k of those supposed jobs are in construction. Now what are the odds of that?

While Wall Street celebrates the upcoming recession, let me remind you that this economy requires about 150k new monthly jobs to merely keeep up with population growth.

Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment

NFP: The Return of the Over?

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment

Auto Sales Reveal the Slow Motion Slowdown Continues

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Economy

GDP Ex Housing

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Real Estate

Which is Performing Better, the Dow or the S&P500 ?

Category: Data Analysis, Index/ETFs, Investing, Markets

GDP = 1.3%

Category: Data Analysis, Economy

GDP Data Release (and primer)

Category: Data Analysis, Economy

Which is Wrong: Data on Growth or Employment?

Category: Data Analysis, Earnings, Economy, Investing, Markets